Bondage, gifts and cannibalism: A spider's Valentine's Day
Spiders aren't just freaky to look at, they're kind of freaky in other ways too
With Valentine's Day approaching, a bit of bondage could be in the cards, perhaps some dancing or a gift before things get spicy. Oh, there's also the possibility of some cannibalism after a bit of passionate procreation.
Thankfully that last bit isn't part of the normal human mating ritual, but it turns out spiders aren't just freaky to look at, they're kind of freaky in their procreative proclivities too.
"If he's not very, very careful, he's going to end up as her dinner. So each species has special strategies so the female will accept the male," Kathleen Hancock, a spider expert from Pincher Creek, Alta. told The Homestretch this week.
"The male is a good meal and he actually is contributing to the growth of his offspring if she eats him," she added.
Kathleen's husband John, also a spider enthusiast, said spider-mating rituals and the potentially deadly consequences for males, "snowballs into quite grotesque behaviours."
While eating a male after copulation is generally considered taboo in human society, there are some spider sexual appetites many will recognize.
"Some of them, the males actually tie the female down," said Kathleen. "Some of them will actually come along and present the female with a gift, usually food."
Some better to watch than others
With the broad spectrum of mating rituals, some species are more enjoyable to watch than others — John and Kathleen would know, they once had 4,500 spiders living in a spare room of their home.
"There are a number of species of Australian jumping spiders that are absolutely fantastic," said John.
"Each species of jumping spider has a different dance, and if he approaches the wrong female, she'll just eat him."
Think about that come Valentine's Day.
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